A picture of Ellis smiling at the camera. They are light skinned with fluffy blonde hair to their shoulders.

Ellis Devereux

Game Writer & Designer

Please click images for more detail.

please tell me you love me cover; a dark red background with golden outline, and the title in a pixelly font.

please tell me you love me (2022)

Chatbox-based interactive fiction set just before an MMO's servers shut down.

Skills: dialogue, characterisation, programming in Ink

For dying MMO jam. Featured in Polygon.

Horse Girl (2021)

Solo journaling RPG where you live out your childhood fantasies by rolling dice to bond with a horse.

Skills: game design, narrative design, system design, tabletop design, documentation

For One-Page RPG Jam 2021.

Horse Gril cover; a white page with drawings of horses and stars that look as though drawn by a child, with the title in the middle.
Vigile cover; a menacing looking goddess in a forest, a sun symbol behind her head, the head of a statue split in half in her hands.

Vigile (2021)

Mystery interactive fiction game set in Roman Britain amidst a burgeoning coup by druids against the Roman state.

Skills: game design, narrative design, documentation, programming in Ink, teamwork

Materials: Demo, game design document

Fatebreaker (2020)

Dark fantasy action-roleplaying game about a chosen one who shirks their destiny and dooms the world.

Skills: worldbuilding, game design, narrative design, level design, documentation, teamwork

Materials: World bible, narrative design document, level design document, interactive dialogue excerpt

Vigile cover; a menacing looking goddess in a forest, a sun symbol behind her head, the head of a statue split in half in her hands.
Vigile cover; a menacing looking goddess in a forest, a sun symbol behind her head, the head of a statue split in half in her hands.

Turning Back (2019)

Walking sim with mystery-solving mechanics, time travel, queer girls and sisterhood.

Skills: game design, core loop design, documentation, presentation

Materials: Core, meta & compulsion loop presentation

One Page Design Documents

Four distinct single page design documents for my university course. Featuring: Knitime, a mobile game about Alzheimer's; Glitch, a survival horror immersive sim similar to Prey; Hidden Words, a hidden object game designed as an educational tool for teaching poetry; and The Last Human at the Border, a management sim with a political twist.

I also have some numerical design snippets available upon request.

A picture of Ellis smiling at the camera. They are light skinned with fluffy blonde hair to their shoulders.

Playable prototype and design document

THE GAME: In the midst of a burgeoning revolution against the Romanisation of Britain, the player, a Roman Vigile, has to investigate sudden, unexplained disappearances and discover clues about the coming coup. The Vigile explores towns, interviews villagers and puts together information to solve cases, described in interactive fiction of a similar nature to 80 Days. It is heavily inspired by detective games like Disco Elysium, with a side of resource and time management designed to feel like balancing the fate of a country on the edge of a knife.MY ROLE: I was the solo programmer, and I made the game in Ink, as well as editing for consistency and grammar and writing some dialogue (in-between bits like shops, sleeping and the hospital, as well as interactions with the governor, which were really fun to write). The game design and ideas were a group effort; my individual sections are labelled in the design document.WHAT I LEARNT: Chiefly, Ink as a language - I had a great time with it, especially since it's a narrative language designed for use in other engines and I managed to wrangle it to track time, location, resources and sleep in just Ink itself! These might've been handled engine-side in the full game, but considering we stuck to Ink for the prototype, I'm pretty proud of myself. I also, in the process, learnt what storylets were, and even managed my own system for them in Ink. I think the most important and rewarding part, though, was working with a team on a longer project. It's so nice to have a team together, and it makes it a lot easier when you have to choose which mechanics to cut to make the game genuinely good!

A picture of Ellis smiling at the camera. They are light skinned with fluffy blonde hair to their shoulders.

One-Page Solo Journaling RPG

Horse Girl is an ode to the stereotypical horse girl books and movies that captivate many young people. Although I myself was never a horse person, I was obsessed with a lot of other things - dragons, deities, my dog Bobbi who I was convinced was my witch's familiar - and I love the concept of making something for people to live out those fantasies of having a beloved companion to bond with.This is why, when designing Horse Girl, I tried to make it as fair to the player as possible. I considered, for example, the success/fail rate when rolling: I want the player to succeed, and to have a nice time with their horse, so I made fail, stable, success and critical success results. Being less likely to fail, the player will not only feel better about the ending, but the game experience as a whole. (We have dreams of being the horse girl bonded forever with the horse, not the one who has a tragic ending.) It ensures incredible highs, but no terrible lows. I also made sure to playtest the game to figure out a sweet spot for building tension towards the climax without going on for too long - 12 months ended up being a good middle point between 'probably going to win by then' and 'won't win so soon it feels easy'.

VIGILE header

Playable prototype and design document

THE GAME: In the midst of a burgeoning revolution against the Romanisation of Britain, the player, a Roman Vigile, has to investigate sudden, unexplained disappearances and discover clues about the coming coup. The Vigile explores towns, interviews villagers and puts together information to solve cases, described in interactive fiction of a similar nature to 80 Days. It is heavily inspired by detective games like Disco Elysium, with a side of resource and time management designed to feel like balancing the fate of a country on the edge of a knife.MY ROLE: I was the solo programmer, and I made the game in Ink, as well as editing for consistency and grammar and writing some dialogue (in-between bits like shops, sleeping and the hospital, as well as interactions with the governor, which were really fun to write). The game design and ideas were a group effort; my individual sections are labelled in the design document.WHAT I LEARNT: Chiefly, Ink as a language - I had a great time with it, especially since it's a narrative language designed for use in other engines and I managed to wrangle it to track time, location, resources and sleep in just Ink itself! These might've been handled engine-side in the full game, but considering we stuck to Ink for the prototype, I'm pretty proud of myself. I also, in the process, learnt what storylets were, and even managed my own system for them in Ink. I think the most important and rewarding part, though, was working with a team on a longer project. It's so nice to have a team together, and it makes it a lot easier when you have to choose which mechanics to cut to make the game genuinely good!

FATEBREAKER header

Worldbuilding, narrative design and level design

THE WORLD: A cycle from the beginning of time. A world slowly decaying. A people in danger. In Azlyð, the birth, death and rebirth of the child of the world itself, the Azlyðine, comes every 300 years - until it stops. The Azlyðine refuses their destiny and refuses to sacrifice themselves back to the planet, causing the lost species - creatures from the past corrupted by magical decay - to become more dangerous, threatening humans' existence and the safety of the world.THE GAME: Fatebreaker is an action RPG that mixes the component-based weaponry from Horizon: Zero Dawn and the challenging combat of Dark Souls, requiring precise timing for parries and dodges. This is combined with a skill tree - allowing the player to specialise into heavy attacks or poisons, for example - as well as a complex barter- and service-based economy, a character creator at the beginning, and, importantly, narrative decisions that should make an impact on the game and world.MY ROLE: Sections I wrote in the worldbuilding document are labelled as such. As for the other documents, I designed the game and narrative, then went into level design and writing for the final sections.WHAT I LEARNED: In terms of hard skills, I definitely learnt a lot more about level design than I knew previously; it took me a couple of tries to come up with a genuinely mechanically-interesting level, but in the end, I am very happy with my sunlight-based stealth level, especially the way the map guides the player through and the environmental storytelling (see Level Design Document). I also learnt how hard good narrative design is! I ended up a little unsatisfied with my big narrative choices, largely because it felt difficult to present both options as being as valid as each other, an issue many games with two or three dialogue options run into. In the future, I'm aiming to have a bit more nuance to my moral choices.

Turning Back

Core, meta and compulsion loop design

Inspired by What Remains of Edith Finch, Life is Strange, Return of the Obra Dinn and L.A. Noire, play as a girl who has inherited time travel powers after her sister's disappearance as you investigate her university dorm room through a 4-dimensional map.

As part of a different assessment, I had to explain why this game is the genres it is, as well as provide historical context for the genres; you can find my essay on why Turning Back is a graphic adventure game and an empathy game here.

I have select nonfiction work available at my Medium account.

VIII of Cups (2019)

Prose, 1.9k words

A short character exploration of my D&D character Vaane [they/them], a goliath storm sorcerer in one of my friends' homebrew worlds. Prompted myself by finding an appropriate tarot card for a moment in my character's life.

Liminal (2018)

Film script, 3.5k words

A horror film script I wrote for my Creative Writing A Level. Four girls go on a road trip, only to find out that the Roman god of doorways and transitions, bloodthirsty and vicious after not being worshipped for so long, has other plans for them. Includes the opening sequence and a scene from later in the film.

White Knife (2018)

Film script, 1.7k words

A horror film script I wrote for my Film Studies A Level which won the 'Woscar', Woking College Oscar, for Best Script of any media department project made by my year. Five friends are thrown into turmoil when one of their friends is murdered. As they search for the killer, they begin to realise that what they’ve been chasing isn’t what it appears to be… Includes two scenes towards the beginning of the film where the teenagers investigate the killings.

About

Hi, I'm Ellis! I like writing and designing a wild variety of games: from mystery to slice of life; action RPGs to walking sims; small itch games to sprawling open worlds. I gravitate towards games with lovable characters, believable relationships and diverse representation, but don't mind what genre I find them in! I also love games that let the player exercise their agency in interesting ways. Ask me about my dissertation sometime!I currently mod for two games industry Discord servers: Game Dev Galaxy, a server for gamedevs of marginalised genders, and Sprout, for up-and-coming game writers and narrative designers.[they/them/theirs]